Furious Elvis Presley fans have launched a bitter attack on a businessman who cut up a 1954 mastertape of the rock'n'roll superstar's music to sell online.

According to MASTER TAPE COLLECTION boss MICHAEL ESPOSITO, the recording - which featured classic track THAT'S ALL RIGHT and nine other tunes - was so fragile, he only played it once and made a digital copy. However, Esposito then chopped up the tape and is selling each piece for $629 (GBP370).

Esposito says, "What we decided to do is share the tape. This will never be played again because it will never hold up. It's in such bad shape. It's very brittle."

But furious Elvis fans can't believe such a precious piece of memorabilia has been handled in such a way.

Rock critic DAVE MARSH fumes, "If they were cutting up something that was purported to be the original copy of the Declaration of Independence or an original copy of MOBY-DICK, we wouldn't even be asking, 'What's the big deal?'"

ROCK'N'ROLL HALL OF FAME curator JIM HENKE agrees: "If indeed it is the original master tape to That's All Right, I think it's a disaster.

"To destroy something that's such an important historic artifact is destroying a key part of American culture."

29/01/2004 17:02